BUSINESS

CRTC: Rogers Within Its Rights To Offer NHL GamePlus App Exclusively To Subscribers

03/16/2015 12:43 EDT | Updated 05/16/2015 05:59 EDT
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GATINEAU, Que. - Rogers Communications will be allowed to give its own subscribers exclusive access to the GamePlus service, which delivers bonus content from NHL games.

The CRTC has dismissed a complaint filed against Rogers last fall by the parent of rival Bell TV, which said GamePlus should be available for free to all subscribers of NHL GameCentre Live, regardless of whether they're a Rogers customer or not.

GamePlus is a higher tier of hockey content that's available free to Rogers subscribers who have signed up for GameCentre.

While GameCentre Live viewers — whether they pay through Rogers or another provider — can access streaming video of live games, the GamePlus app provides interactive stats about the hockey players, playbacks of game highlights through multiple camera angles and post-game interviews with the players.

The federal regulator concluded Rogers complies with rules which allow companies to provide exclusive content to their subscribers, if it's not created mainly for traditional television.

CRTC chairman Jean-Pierre Blais says Canadians have an abundance of content available on multiple platforms.

"In order to stand out, creators, producers and distributors have to be creative and find innovative ways to create and deliver content to Canadians through digital media," Blais said.

"Rogers' GamePlus service is a complementary service available online to enhance the viewer's experience. I encourage other companies holding broadcasting rights to be innovative online to in order to provide Canadian and international audiences with content that they want to see."

Bell had told the CRTC that it believes GamePlus violates certain regulatory rules that require content created for broadcasters to be made available to all competitors.

Rogers argued the GamePlus features, which include cameras mounted on referee helmets, were created for an interactive platform and wouldn't have been developed solely for TV broadcasts — making them exempt under the rules.

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